How does the mass balance system work?

With complex supply chains it is often difficult to keep certified materials physically separated or isolated from other materials. However, the purchase and sales of materials can be tracked and traced. If a company is making a mass balance claim, it means they have bought enough material to cover the claim, but it may not appear in each individual product. 

In other words, the amount of certified material entering a facility is known and an equivalent volume of the product leaving the operation can be sold as certified.

For example, a chocolate company might buy enough certified cocoa to cover chocolate bars, but the certified cocoa might not appear in every bar – because some ends up in cake mix, or ice cream or other products made at the chocolate factory. We are taking this same idea and applying it to recycled materials. Check out our video on Mass Balance!

You can learn more about the mass balance approach as applied to chemical recycling in this white paper issued by members of the Ellen Macarthur Foundation network.